Which mobile devices are owners using most frequently for news?

Q3: Which mobile devices are owners using most frequently for news?

2012 RJI Mobile Media News Consumption Survey

For news organizations, the Apple iPad and comparable large media tablets appear to be well on their way to becoming a viable alternative to printing presses, televisions and radios.

Key insights from this survey

  • Our findings confirm that owners of large media tablets tend to spend more time consuming news than those who don’t own them. And that they tend to use their tablets more frequently while relaxing at home after 5:00 p.m. — historically the location and prime time for reading evening newspapers and watching television news.
  • Among the mobile news consumers we surveyed, 40 percent owned large media tablets (mostly iPads). About half said it was their most frequently used mobile device for consuming news.
  • More than half of the mobile news consumers who said they used their large media tablet most frequently for news also subscribed to a printed newspaper and/or newsmagazine. Only one-third of those who said they used their smartphone most frequently for news subscribed to a printed newspaper and/or newsmagazine.
  • Those who said they use their large media tablet most frequently for consuming news also are much more likely to subscribe to digital news products than those who said they use their smartphone most frequently for news.
  • Those who said they used their smartphone most frequently for news were somewhat more likely to have downloaded news apps to their mobile devices than those who used their large media tablet most frequently for news. However, those who favored large media tablets tended to download significantly more news apps.
  • The CNN news app ranked in first place with both smartphone and large media tablet news consumers. The New York Times app ranked in second place with large media tablet news consumers and tied for second place with the Fox Cable News app with smartphone news consumers. Among those who favored other mobile devices, The New York Times app ranked in first place; however, they represented only 9 percent of the mobile news consumers who said they downloaded news apps, and only 4 percent of the mobile news consumers we surveyed overall.
  • About 60 percent of owners who favored large media tablets consider their experience consuming news on their tablets better than reading a printed newspaper. Fifty percent of owners who favored smartphones said their experience consuming news on their smartphones was better than reading a printed newspaper.
  • When compared to watching television news on a TV set, 63 percent of owners who favored large media tablets said their experience on their tablets was better. Only 46 percent of owners who favored smartphones said their experience on their smartphones was better.
  • When compared to listening to radio on a radio set, 73 percent of owners who favored large media tablets said their experience on their tablets was better. Fifty-nine percent of owners who favored smartphones said their experience on their smartphones was better.
  • About 41 percent of the large media tablet owners who also owned a smartphone said they used their devices on average more than one hour per day for news. About 31 percent of those who only owned a smartphone spent that amount of time consuming news.
  • The owners of large media tablets who were most likely to favor them for consuming news tended to be men between the ages of 35 and 54.
  • Three-quarters of large media tablet owners said they used it for news most frequently at home. Less than 5 percent said they used it for news most frequently while commuting or traveling.
  • Nearly all mobile news consumers who owned a large media tablet also owned a smartphone and at least one other mobile device.
  • Despite the growing popularity of large media tablets, smartphones remain as the most ubiquitous and most frequently used mobile media device for consuming news, especially among those ages 18 to 34.
  • About 29 percent of the mobile news consumers we surveyed owned small media tablets, such as the Amazon Kindle Fire and Samsung Galaxy Tab 7, or e-readers. Only about 13 percent of the owners said they used these mobile devices most frequently for consuming news. Less than 4 percent overall favored these devices for news.

Mobile News Consumers: 63 percent of the mobile media device owners who participated in this national phone survey said they had used at least one of their mobile devices to consume news in the previous seven days. The following table shows the percentages of mobile devices owned by the news consumers and the percentages of mobile devices they favored for consuming news. About 36% of the 430 mobile news consumers identified in this survey owned only one mobile device; about 64% owned an average of 2.5 mobile devices.

MOBILE MEDIA DEVICES USED FOR CONSUMING NEWSAll Devices OwnedDevices Favored For NewsPercent Favored For NewsPercent Owned By Mobile News Consumers
Smartphone39428873%92%
Large Media Tablet1728248%40%
Small Media Tablet441330%10%
E-Reader8334%19%
Other Mobile Media Devices*1444431%34%
Total Mobile Devices837430NANA
*Includes netbooks, ultra-light notebooks, and Internet-enabled portable digital assistants, music players and game players.

Ages of News Consumers: Nearly one half of the mobile media owners who favored large media tablets for news were between the ages of 35 and 54.

MOBILE MEDIA DEVICES USED FOR CONSUMING NEWS18-3435-5455 or Older
Smartphone Users57%27%16%
Large Media Tablet Users28%48%24%

Time Spent Consuming News: Large media tablet users tended to spend more time consuming news than smartphone users. More than one quarter of the large media tablet users said they spent more than two hours per day consuming news.

MOBILE MEDIA DEVICES USED FOR CONSUMING NEWSPercent Used Less Than One Hour Per DayPercent Used One Hour or More Per DayPercent Used More Than Two Hours Per Day
Smartphone Users44%56%22%
Large Media Tablet Users40%60%26%

Time of Day: Mobile media owners who favored large media tablets were much more likely to consume news after 5:00 than those who favored smartphones.

MOBILE MEDIA DEVICES USED FOR CONSUMING NEWSMorning
Before 11AM
Afternoon
11AM to 5PM
Evening
After 5PM
Variable
Smartphone Users31%22%29%18%
Large Media Tablet Users25%15%49%11%

Location: Nearly three-quarters of mobile media owners who favored large media tables for news said their favorite location for consuming news was their home.

MOBILE MEDIA DEVICES USED FOR CONSUMING NEWSAt HomeAt Work or SchoolWhile Commuting or TravelingEverywhere
Smartphone Users37%21%16%26%
Large Media Tablet Users74%12%4%10%

Printed News Subscriptions: More than half of the mobile media owners who favored a large media tablet for consuming news subscribed to a printed newspaper and/or news magazine.

MOBILE MEDIA DEVICES USED FOR CONSUMING NEWSPrint Subscribers
Smartphone Users33%
Large Media Tablet Users52%

News Apps: The mobile media owners who favored a large media tablet for consuming news individually downloaded more news apps than those who favored smartphones. More than half of the mobile media owners we surveyed had not downloaded any news apps to their mobile devices.

MOBILE MEDIA DEVICES USED FOR CONSUMING NEWSNumber of News Apps Downloaded Per User
Smartphone Users3.1
Large Media Tablet Users4.6
MOBILE MEDIA DEVICES USED FOR CONSUMING NEWSDownloaded At Least One News AppNo News Apps Downloaded
Smartphone Users47%53%
Large Media Tablet Users44%56%
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